Friday, September 26, 2014

LionFish Hunting Competition on for this weekend in Tobago

A LIONFISH hunting competition is scheduled to take place in Tobago this weekend in an attempt to
get rid of the invasive alien species.

Registration for the “Lionfish Derby” will take place at the Charlotteville Bandstand from 4 p.m. today.

Hunters will be rewarded for catching the largest, smallest and most lionfish.

An invasive alien species is an animal or plant whose introduction outside its natural habitat threatens biological diversity.

In July 2012 the first lionfish was captured off Castara in Tobago.

“Ecological impacts of the lionfish include the decline of biodiversity and resilience of coral reefs as well as the reduction of important species such as herbivores and forage fishes,” a release from the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) stated.

“Socioeconomic impacts of the lionfish include economic losses for commercial fishermen and potential impacts to stock rebuilding efforts for commercially important species.”

The IMA stated that the human health impacts “include stings from the lionfish”.

“Symptoms include hypertension, hypotension, seizures, chest pain, abdominal pain, swelling, pain and temporary paralysis of extremities. The long-term impacts of repeated envenominations are unknown,” the release said.

In April the IMA received approval from the Green Fund for $3.9 million for the project to control and manage the lionfish.

“For the duration of the one year project, the IMA will be working with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) as well as the Association of Tobago Divers (ATDO) and several stakeholders including fishing associations, fisherfolk and divers,” the release stated.

This weekend will be the first lionfish derby.

“The competition will be open to certified scuba divers, free divers, snorkelers and generally anyone who is familiar with handling the lionfish,” the release stated.

“For those who do not participate in the derby they can come and learn about the lionfish, taste lionfish and view the live lionfish on display.”


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